The Top 10 Biomass Companies in the World


The global biomass market is rapidly expanding, and many companies are leading the way in th...

NES Fircroft

By NES Fircroft

The global biomass market is rapidly expanding, and many companies are leading the way in the growth of the biomass industry. These companies are investing in new biomass technologies and projects and are helping to make biomass a more affordable and accessible energy source. In the blog, we'll delve into the top 10 biomass companies in the world to show you which industry innovators are pioneering progression within the biomass space.

However, before we explore the world's top 10 biggest biomass companies, let's answer the question, what is biomass? How is it used? And what are the benefits of it?

What is biomass? 

Biomass, in ecological terms, refers to renewable organic matter that comes either from plants or animals. In the context of energy, it refers to any organic matter that can be used to produce energy.

Until the early 1900s, traditional biomass was the main energy source throughout the world. However, from the start of the 20th century onwards, coal, oil, and gas grew exponentially as the primary source of energy worldwide.

Nonetheless, traditional biomass energy consumption has remained relatively similar over the past 200 years, and today, bioenergy (energy made from biomass) is the most important source of renewable energy globally. According to the International Energy Association, 'its contribution to final energy demand across all sectors is five times higher than wind and solar PV combined.'

Because biomass can technically be used as a direct source of fuel, some people use the terms biomass and biofuel interchangeably.

However, most often, the term is used simply to refer to the biological material that is used to make the fuel. Biofuel generally denotes a liquid or gaseous fuel mainly used for transportation. Biofuels include cellulosic ethanol, biodiesel, and renewable hydrocarbon "drop-in" fuels.

Biomass is a renewable energy resource that encompasses:

  • Animal manure and human sewage
  • Biogenic materials found in municipal solid waste such as cotton, paper, and wool products and yard, wool, and food wastes
  • Waste materials and agricultural crops such as sugar cane, woody plants, switchgrass, soybeans, corn, algae, and crop and food processing residues
  • Wood and wood processing wastes such as wood pellets, firewood, wood chips, sawdust, lumber, and black liquor from pulp and paper mills

Biomass can be converted into usable fuel/energy in a few different ways, either through:

  • Biological conversion to produce liquid and gaseous fuels
  • Chemical conversion to produce liquid fuels
  • Direct combustion (burning) to produce heat
  • Thermochemical conversion (includes pyrolysis and gasification) to produce solid, gaseous, and liquid fuels

One of the main benefits of biomass is that it's an incredibly versatile renewable energy source with a far lower carbon footprint than traditional carbon-intensive energy sources. In addition, it can be transformed into liquid transportation fuels capable of replacing fossil-based fuels. It can also be used to produce electricity, heat, and bioproducts.

​Top 10 biomass companies in the world

There are countless bioenergy organisations around today, all contributing to the renewable energy revolution and finding sustainable ways to power the planet by harnessing the power of biomass. In this section, we will explore 10 of the world's biggest biomass renewable energy companies.

1. Renewable Energy Group

Renewable Energy Group (REG) is a global producer and supplier of renewable fuels such as diesel, biodiesel, and chemicals. The company made its first batch of biodiesel in 1996 when the industry was still in its infancy and operating under the umbrella of West Central Cooperative in Iowa.

In 2002, West Central opened one of the world's biggest continuous-flow processing plants for processing soybean oil into biodiesel fuel. Then in 2006, renewable energy Group, Inc. became its own independent corporation.

They managed to raise 100 million USD in private equity, which at the time was the largest-ever investment in the biodiesel industry. Since then, REG has become the biggest biodiesel producer by volume in the US.


POET grew from a single bioprocessing plant in South Dakota to one of the largest bioproducts producers in the world. They develop renewable bioproducts as well as alternatives to petrochemicals and fossil fuels.

The company currently encompasses 33 bioprocessing plants with a combined annual production capacity of 3 billion gallons of bioethanol.

Their sustainability goals are based on two pillars:

  • Invest in technology focused on achieving carbon neutrality & increasing the use of plant-based products
  • Advocate for a sustainable society

For their continuous innovation within biotechnology, they have been included in Fortune's 2019 'Change the World' list and as one of Fast Company's 'Most Innovative Companies of 2019.'

3 .Drax Group

Drax Group is a UK-based renewable energy company involved in renewable power generation, sustainable biomass production, and renewable electricity sales. They are the UK’s biggest source of renewable electricity.

They have four sites across England and Scotland that involve biomass, hydroelectricity, and pumped hydro storage. They also operate a global bioenergy supply business with manufacturing plants across 13 locations in the US and Canada, producing compressed wood pellets for their own use and clients across Asia and Europe. They currently employ around 3,400 people worldwide.

In 2019, they announced their ambition to be carbon-negative by 2030, using Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) technology to remove CO2 from the air whilst still delivering reliable renewable energy.

4. Green Plains

Green Plains is a leading agri-tech company that processes renewable crops into high-value, more sustainable ingredients such as feed ingredients, specialty alcohols, and low-carbon fuels.

With a market cap of $1.94 Billion, they currently have 11 biorefineries across the US, 17 ethanol production facilities, and process 10 million tons of corn annually. Moreover, they have an annual production capacity of 1 billion gallons of low-carbon biofuels. The company distilled its first gallon of biofuel in 2007 and has since become a global leader in their field.

From 2007 until 2019, Green Plain's biofuels were responsible for reducing 34.3 million metric tons of CO2, equivalent to removing 7.4 million cars off the road.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), every gallon of their biofuel diminished greenhouse gas emissions by 46% compared to the same measure of traditional gasoline whilst avoiding harmful additives found in petroleum-based fuels, including benzene, ethylbenzene, toluene, and xylene.

5. Cosan

Cosan is a Brazilian clean energy organisation founded in 1936 that produces bioenergy, sugar, and ethanol from sugar cane - a high-performing resource of biomass energy. With a headquarters in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Cosan has various global subsidiaries within the renewables space, including, Raízen, Rumo, Comgás, Moove, and Cosan Biomassa. 

The company has 23 production plants - 21 of which are located in Sao Paulo and have additional facilities in the pipeline. Cosan is Brazil's largest sugarcane producer and the third largest globally. The company has the capacity to produce 56 million tonnes of sugar cane a year and has a market cap of $5.67 Billion as of April 2023.

Cosan is also the world's fifth-biggest ethanol producer and the world's largest ethanol exporter. With 55,000 employees, the organisation is committed to supporting the sustainability and development of Brazil through investing in the value chain of natural resources and the renewable energy transition.

6. Enviva

Enviva is the world's largest manufacturer of sustainable wood pellets, focusing on wood-based bioenergy as an alternative energy source to coal. Founded in 2004 with a headquarters in Maryland, US, the company converts existing coal plants into biomass manufacturing facilities that operate 24/7 and provide utility customers with reliable and sustainable renewable energy, whether it be heat or electricity.

With facilities in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia, while having a global presence in the UK, Japan, and Germany, Enviva employs over 1,300 people across its locations.

As a specialist in sustainable wood energy, Enviva is on a mission to displace fossil fuels, plant more trees, and combat climate change through its bioenergy solution. In 2021, Enviva announced its goal of achieving net zero in all its operations by 2030. The target of being 100% renewable energy reliant by 2030 has a halfway objective of being at least 50% on their way to net zero by 2025.


VERBIO is a German biofuel technology company committed to sustainably manufacturing a range of products from waste-based biodiesel, biogas, biomethane, and ethanol. Its biofuel products steer clear of conventional production methods and are solely created by farming residue. Moreover, VERBIO’s biofuel products are one of the most energy-efficient in the world and can reduce CO2 emissions by up to 90% compared to diesel, petrol, and other fossil fuels.

With a market cap of $2.55 Billion, the company is at the forefront of Europe’s biofuel producers. VERBIO has a vision of replacing fossil fuels with renewable materials and is striving to become the alternative energy supplier of the 21st century.

By 2025, VERBIO aims to reduce CO2 to 8 million tonnes through biofuel solutions after saving 2,6 million tonnes of CO2 from 2021 to 2022. From its plants throughout Germany, with affiliates in India, the US, Canada, Hungary, and Poland, VERBIO produces 660,000 tonnes of biodiesel, 300,000 tonnes of bioethanol, and 1,300 gigawatt-hours of biomethane annually.

8. Enerkem

Enerkem was founded in 2000 and is the world’s first company to manufacture renewable biofuels, ethanol, and methanol, from non-recyclable waste materials for commercial use.

With a focus on the circular economy, their vision is to help reduce 90% of the planet’s waste and the need for fossil fuels by producing biofuels to power vehicles or manufacture various everyday products to be used by communities around the world.

Born out of Montreal, Quebec, Canada, the company has a global presence, expanding into the US and Europe in recent years. In 2021, Enerkem partnered with Shell and Port of Rotterdam to help produce sustainable aviation fuel in the Netherlands. Then, most recently, in 2022, they closed $255 million in financing to drive the deployment of its innovative biofuel solutions.

9. EnviTec

EnviTec is one of the world’s leading biogas producers, manufacturing sustainable biofuels from biomass. Specialising in customised plant and green concepts for biomethane, heating, and electricity marketing, the company works with local partners within the agriculture and renewable energy industry.

Founded in Lohne, Germany, in 2002, Envitec has more than 600 biogas and biomethane production facilities worldwide, with a prominent presence in the UK, France, Italy, Denmark, the Czech Republic, Asia, and North America.

As of 2007, they have been listed on the Frankfurt stock exchange, and since starting with just 20 employees almost two decades ago, EnviTec has grown into a global organisation with 430 employees and currently has a market cap of $609 million.

10. CropEnergies

CropEnergies is a renewable energy company with a vision for creating a climate-friendly world by helping to displace fossil fuels by producing biobased products - where only renewable agricultural materials are used from biodiverse locations across Europe.

Founded in Mannheim, Germany, in 2006, with 455 employees as of February 2022, CropEnergies produces 1.3 million m³ of sustainable ethanol for fuel purposes, along with roughly 150,000 m³ of sustainable ethanol for traditional and technical applications annually. Additionally, they manufacture biomass products for the food and beverage, animal feed, cosmetics, and pharmaceutical markets.

To date, CropEnergies ethanol production has saved an average of 70% CO2 and greenhouse gases compared to fossil fuels. Additionally, with a market cap of $1 Billion, CropEnergies aims to be climate-neutral by 2050 across its various production sites in Germany, Belgium, France, and the UK.

It's clear that the 10 companies listed in this article are at the forefront of the future of biomass energy, playing an increasingly important role in the global energy mix. In addition to the companies listed above, many other biomass companies are making significant contributions to the biomass industry, and perhaps we'll see these enter our top 10 list in the future.

Ultimately, though, the top 10 biomass companies in the world we've discussed are well-positioned to continue to lead the way in the development and use of biomass energy. The future of biomass energy is bright, and the companies spearheading the industry are significantly contributing to the fight against climate change.

​NES Fircroft and supporting the Renewable Energies Industry

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